August 9, 2013

Preservation for generations

By ROBIN CAUDELL Press Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — The First Presbyterian Church’s limestone exterior gets a makeover as part of Living Stones II, a restoration project to preserve the historic church for generations to come.

“The project is a second phase of restoring the exterior of the church,” said Janora Stone, a member of the church and co-financial manager with Jennie Booth of the Living Stones II Campaign: Preservation for Generations.

“In 2004, we did extensive work. We replaced the slate roof, and the buttresses were reappointed. The mortar was taken out between the stones and replaced. Now, we’re doing the front tower of the church, the tall tower that can be seen from everywhere in Plattsburgh.”

The church’s faith community dates to 1792, and this structure was built in 1873.

“They took the old mortar and sent it away for analysis,” Stone said. “It’s being replaced with a copy of what was there before. It lasted for a long time. The First Presbyterian Church is the oldest faith community in Plattsburgh. It was started during the War of 1812. The first church was a wooden church, and it burned down.”

The Utica-based Lupini Construction is working on the multi-phased restoration project estimated to cost $521,153.

Ongoing building preservation will require additional funds.

“As our predecessors have, we have great faith that we can do it,” Stone said. “Right now, we’ve just begun. We’re having this dinner on Aug. 18, a potluck supper. Scott Lupini from Lupini Construction will tell us what they’re doing. They have done projects at Syracuse University and West Point. They are very well respected, and they specialize in old stone buildings.”

The church’s Building and Grounds Committee is co-chaired by Bob Davis and Herb Cottrell. Members are Kristy Dantes, Kathie Fairweather, Jim Fox, Brent Germain, John Sommers and Roland McGee. Finance Committee members are Victoria Duley, Judy Bunnell, Jack Myers, Jim Fox, Stuart Voss and Carla Hausrath.

“Some of our people will talk about what’s been done, what’s been raised and how much we need to raise,” Stone said. “The congregation will make pledges. We are also examining other avenues of fundraising. We don’t know yet what else we will need to do. If anyone is interested in helping, anyone who is a preservationist, they can come.”

The church is located at 34 Brinkerhoff St. in the city’s arts corridor.

“We hope to become more involved in downtown activities and issues,” Stone said. 

Donations are now being collected.

“It’s not just about the building,” Stone said. “It’s about our community of faith, our family of faith and having a place to carry it on for future generations.”

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IF YOU GO WHAT: Congregational Pot-luck Supper and informational meeting about Living Stones II Campaign: Preservation for Generations. WHEN: 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18. WHERE: First Presbyterian Church, 34 Brinkerhoff St., Plattsburgh TO DONATE: Gifts can be made in the form of cash, check, with gifts of stock or through your retirement plan and may be made over a three-year pledge period. For information about making a gift of stock or through your retirement plan, contact Jim Fox at 562-8724 or Jack Myers at 561-6441. Gifts should be mailed to the First Presbyterian Church, 34 Brinkerhoff St., Plattsburgh, NY 12901 and be marked for the Living Stones II Campaign. PHONE: For more information about the Living Stones II Campaign, contact Stuart Voss at 563-3057 or or Janora Stone at 561-1230 or